Editorial: Facts and Values

In a recent editorial, a commentator gave his insight into the recent case of the Kansas Board of Education’s decision to allow the teaching of Creationism in our schools. With the customary cynicism of the media, he agreed that Creationism has no place in the serious curriculum of any serious country. Yet, in a spirit of toleration, he opined that Biblical creation could be taught in our schools. It should be taught, he suggested, not as science, but for its “mythic grandeur and moral dimensions.” If our children can read the Iliad and the Odyssey, then why not Genesis?

He summed up his argument by suggesting that the Bible was not about “facts” but “values.” Since society is deeply impoverished by a lack of “values,” why not allow our children to get them through the “myths” of the Bible?

A dissection and critique of his editorial is possible from many angles (such as the possible connection between our lack of values and the removal of all mention of God from public life), but perhaps it is this transfer of the Bible from the realm of facts to that of values which is especially noteworthy.

The suggestion of the writer places the Bible on a par with Aesop’s Fables: obviously fictional, but full of moral wisdom. In a similar manner, a tolerant pluralistic society has taken the belief of the Christian and informed us that these are our values and not really facts. We have no right imposing our values on others.

It may well be asked that if values are not based upon fact, what is their basis? Is it a shared consensus among society? That type of popularity-based ethics is what led to Nazi Germany and its values. Is it a pragmatic, does-it-work, philosophy? That led to the massive genocides (and that of their own people) of Stalin and Mao earlier in the 20th century.

Values must be based upon facts or they will eventually change with the shiftless, uncertain base upon which they rest. Much of the moral decay of our society can be traced to the removal of the Judeo-Christian ethic as the basis for morality.

Yes, the Bible does contain values, values which are as immutable as God Himself. But those values are based upon the revelation of the character of God. They are not myths extracted from heroic sagas and fables of make-believe heroes and heroines.

Great moral lessons can be learned from the lives of men such as Abraham, David and Moses, to name only a handful. But those lessons have value because they show a real God dealing with real men in real life. In those dealings there is a progressive unfolding and revelation of the character and ways of God, not the romanticizing of ideal virtues.

May we have grace and help, in simplicity and faithfulness, to uphold divine truth with its facts. May we, in a spirit of dependence upon the Spirit of God, cling fast to the Word of God.